Bonus Post Prompt – Buzzworm Goes Universal

Sue-Im Lee’s scholarly article “We Are Not the World”: Global Village, Universalism, and Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange begins with a passage from the novel, specifically from the character Arcangel: “I do not defend my title for the rainbow of children of the world. This is not a benefit for UNESCO. We are not the world. This is not a rock concert.” (Yamashita 259). Lee uses this passage to frame her argument and highlights how Yamashita implemented this passage in order to convey that the globalist “we” in the “We are the world” chant is being critiqued here, that this “we” is being used as an unilateral, universalist “we” by the First World, not a globalist “we”, further forcing their ideologies, and, in turn, inequalities, on the less privileged Third World. One concept worth defining from Lee’s thesis is, undoubtedly, the concept of the global village, which describes a global coexistence caused by transnational commerce, migration, and culture. Essentially, the concept of a global village defies time and space, as we are all closer than we think via technological advances in communication and the aforementioned attributes that a global village entails. There is a scene in Tropic of Orange that comes to mind when thinking about both Lee’s thesis and the concept of a global village. The scene occurs in Chapter 29, when Buzzworm takes the microphone away from the television reporter and starts interviewing people. There is a level of irony going on here. Buzzworm represents those who are homeless, people of color, the underprivileged, the Third World. By Buzzworm seizing the microphone from the reporter the Third World is essentially becoming “the few who presume to speak for all” (Lee 503). Quite ironically, Emi, a symbol of the First World, tries to get Buzzworm to stop, but he keeps going and becomes a hit. In this scene we really see Lee’s thesis at work in an ironic sense, as the universalist “we” is being mocked because of Buzzworm’s likeability with the general public or what we can call the universalist global village.

One Response to Bonus Post Prompt – Buzzworm Goes Universal

  1. Prof VZ March 13, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    I enjoyed reading the updated version of this response in your summary assignment, and I really like the way you use that moment where Buzz grabs the mic as the moment when the few stop speaking for the many and the few start speaking for themselves–great attention to detail!

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